We have become accustomed to witnessing photorealistic graphics, experiencing accurate physics and exploring immersive universes in racing games. This; however, has not always been the case. It all started in 1974, when players entertained themselves standing in front of an arcade machine.
The racing genre has come a long from its conception, to its current state, but it is still possible to have fun with arcade racing games and through the use of Virtual Reality (VR), they can make their way back to the mainstream audience. And we will tell you how.
In the 70s and 80s, there were many reasons which drew players to arcades, even after home consoles were introduced in the market. One of them was the cost. Players could pay a small fee, in order to have a short burst of entertainment. In the eyes of many, this made more financial sense than purchasing a video game system to play at home.
As technology evolved; however, consoles started to become more sophisticated and their cost decreased, becoming more accessible to the average customer. Opting to own a console became a consensus among gamers, who performed a mass exodus from the arcades, to their living rooms.
Nowadays, arcade racing games have become a minority in this industry, but as technology continues to move forward, history may repeat itself and benefit the arcade racing genre.
While the top VR sets used in gaming remain expensive to the average crowd, many gamers crave for the opportunity to immerse themselves in virtual worlds, but cannot afford to do so. This is the opportunity arcade racing games must grasp, in order to ensure their survival.
If a developer makes the commitment of building an arcade racing game with VR support, the individuals who cannot afford to have this technology at home will head back to the arcade, in order to dive into a virtual world.
Developing this product; however, would not be cheap and would require significant resources, but as the novelty of VR is introduced and players are able to experience it, with a small cost, the profit will be made through the scale of the sales. Many people paying a small fee, equals a big profit, which as of now, is the opposite of the logic applied in the VR market, as developers sell their products with a big price tag, to a limited audience — think microtransactions in many of the biggest games, in 2015 League of Legends earnt a massive $1.6 billion even if it’s free to play.
There is; however, a limited time window to put this plan in motion. The costs of Virtual Reality will decrease over the next few years and it will not take long before it becomes financially accessible to a mass audience. By the time this happens, the opportunity to reinvent arcade racing games will have been lost, as people will not go to the arcades, in order to experience VR, if they can do this in the comfort of their homes.
We shall conclude; therefore, that the future of arcade racing games hangs in a limbo state. It is possible to reinvent the genre and bring it back to mainstream relevance, but this will take an investment and above all, an innovative drive from a developer who is willing to take the risk.